Tracking 2015 – February

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At the end of January I wrote a post about tracking our spending for the year.

It is now the end of February and we have continued our diligence in order to create an accurate picture of our variable spending.

BudgetingThere was no more holiday spending and our grand total for February was $1,620.92 which is almost exactly $1,000 less than the total for January (excluding bookings for our holiday).  Many, but not all categories were substantially less.  This was not because of any concerted effort, but rather, is an indication of how our costs fluctuate on a month by month basis.

Food made up a much smaller proportion with a spend of $233 in February compared to $633 in January.

Most importantly, if the food and transport costs for the first 2 months of 2015 were averaged out over a 12 month period they work out to slightly less than the figure I put in our budget estimation late last year for the financial planner.  This makes me feel as though I have a pretty good idea of where our money goes and how much it costs us to live.  The proof will come later in the year if the figures continue to stack up.

Tracking 2015

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Today is Saturday.  Where did the week go?  I am very busy at work so although I have been thinking about my blog that is as far as it went.

Not only is it Saturday, it is Saturday 31st January.  The final day of the first month of 2015.  1/12th of the year gone.  Have you already forgotten what you resolved to do better/differently/more consistently in 2015 already?

BudgetingOne of my goals was to actually track how much we spend.  We have never worked to a real budget – actually allocating a certain $ value to each item/category but we keep careful track of the regular bills – rates/insurances/phone/internet but is the variable spending that is more difficult to calculate.  I do not have a specific amount of money for groceries each week as I tend to bulk shop for dry goods and meat and buy perishable items on a weekly basis.  I need to average my grocery spending over at least 6 months to get a fair and accurate idea of how much we spend.

As I said it is the last day of the month and we have been shopping so there will be no more spending today.  The grand total of our variable spending in January was $5,134.53 – yes, over $5K!  Almost exactly half of that was airfares and accommodation for our Singapore holiday later in the year. So, $2,618.73 looks somewhat better.  This figure includes food, clothes, gifts, hobbies, eating out, entertainment, alcohol, car fuel and maintenance, haircuts, public transport, pets, medical/dental and incidentals.

Apart from the holiday spending which is really a one-off, the categories with the highest spend were food $623 closely followed by public transport $620.  This is really interesting because what finally prompted me to track our spending very carefully was that I wanted to know how much we would need to live a comfortable lifestyle on our terms in our retirement.  Giving up paid work is a few years away yet but it is important to budget for life without regular employment.  We will still need to eat when we are retired but public transport will cease to be an issue as all of that expenditure is related to our lengthy commute to the office.

Do you know how much you spend?  Working or retired?  I would love to hear your comments.